Teaching Tatum to Heel

Teaching the Heel has always been difficult for me. Plus, it is what Novice Obedience is all about!  Ugh.

Tatum Sleeping
Tatum Sleeping

So it’s time to teach Tatum to heel. And I want her to have a nice solid fun heeling that she will do even without treats. Ha! It’s a challenge with this girl, because she is very sassy and wants to know what’s in it for her.

So in order to get her to do things without treats, we are, of course, starting with treats.  I have a target stick that I put under my wrist watch (I want to get some videos to post about, easier to see than tell) and it’s in a good place in front of her nose.  My trainer and I are thinking that Tatum doesn’t have very good peripheral vision. She can see right in front of her, but if something isn’t right in front of her it’s hard for her to see. So this puts the the treat right on front of her eyes. 🙂

So I walk only a few steps, making sure she is staring at the treat. Then I tell her to get it. After she gets it, I tell her to tap, and she taps the stick with her nose. This will establish, we hope, that she has to do something in addition to just following the treat around!

Then maybe, once she is doing awesome in obedience, we can stay in a  New York City hotel and go to one of the big shows!  That’d be fun. Tatum does have a nice heel so far, and I want to train her right, make it fun, and have good heeling with her!  I swear, heeling is one of the most difficult things for a dog to understand. And, novice obedience is mostly heeling, with a couple other things thrown in!

3 thoughts on “Teaching Tatum to Heel”

  1. Amen to heeling being hardest! I’ve had a dog trained up to Utility otherwise who couldn’t get past Novice in heeling. We did better in Rally, where the heel may take place a foot off the ground without the judge getting too exercised about it.

    trackers last blog post..Time to Break Out the Cheese

    1. Hi Tracker! LOL Yes heeling is hard, and I’ve heard of Utility dogs heeling not being too good anymore! Once out of novice heeling is just one of the exercises and doesn’t take up the whole run through, which is so nice! I like Rally too. 🙂

  2. hmm heeling is very hard, especially in my case with a hyperactive stafforshire bull terrier.. care to sahre your method you use? I’ve only begun with clicker training, and already see a major improvement in response time but heel is still a struggle.

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